"Thanksgiving Edition" - Ultimate XV: The Best United States Born Rugby Players - Ruck

“Thanksgiving Edition” – Ultimate XV: The Best United States Born Rugby Players

The land of the free and the home of the brave. Today marks Thanksgiving in the United States of America, and the rugby world is certainly thankful for some of top talents to have come out of the states throughout the years.

Despite not being amongst the titans of international rugby, the United States are amongst the leading tier two nations in the world. The Eagles have soared to the Rugby World Cup in eight of the 10 instillments, yet have never been able to progress out of the Pool stages. Since 2016, the United States have been competing in the Americas Rugby Championship, and are two-time winners of the competition (2017 and 2018).

Throughout the history of United States Rugby, some top talents have emerged from the land of stars and stripes. Some of these players have gone on to represent different nations, and we’ve pieced together an Ultimate XV, of the best United States eligible rugby players from across rugby’s past and present.


15. Blaine Scully

14. Chris Wyles

11. Carlin Isles

We have selected a trio of retired United States stars for the back three, with arguably the fastest rugby player of all time taking the number 11 jersey. There was no understating how rapid Carlin Isles was back in his prime, with the speedster clocking a top speed of 25.7mph, and his best a 100m sprint coming in at 10.13s. For comparison, Isles time would have qualified him for the 100m semi-finals, in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

On the opposite wing is Chris Wyles, who is widely regarded amongst the Premiership Rugby’s best American players. Wyles was well versed across both wings, centre and fullback, and starred for Nottingham in his early career. Wyles’ Premiership tenure came through a year-long stint at Northampton Saints, before his best remembered decade long run with Saracens. Wyles is a four-time Premiership champion with Sarries, and also has two Champions Cup winners medals in his cabinet.

Coming in at fullback is Blaine Scully, who was a fan favourite at Welford Road during his time in the Premiership. Scully played two seasons for the Tigers, before making the move to Wales and signing for Cardiff Blues. The fullback remained in the Welsh capital for four seasons, and was apart of history when Cardiff won the EPCR Challenge Cup in 2018, becoming the first Welsh club to lift European silverware.


13. Will Helu

12. Tommaso Boni

We bolster the midfield of our Ultimate American XV, with two United States capped players who have previously represented a different nation. Will Helu made his international debut for Tonga in 2010, and represented the Pacific Island at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Helu is well known to rugby fans from the UK, due to his time at Wasps, and he also enjoyed a two-year stint in Edinburgh.

Helu’s globe trotting career includes playing for clubs in Romania, France and Italy, as well as Bristol. The centre currently plays for Atlanta, and made his USA debut in 2020. Joining Helu in the centres is former Italy international Tommaso Boni, who too has switched nations after cutting ties to the ‘Azzurri’. Boni made his Italy debut against Canada in 2015, and racked up a total of 12 caps in total. The Zebre Parma man is one of the Eagles newest additions, and made his USA debut last Summer against Romania.